11/11/2009 12:00AM

Gryder to ride in Hong Kong till spring

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Benoit & Associates
Aaron Gryder, winning the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex with Judge Joan, will ride in Hong Kong from Nov. 22 until at least March.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Aaron Gryder, who won the $6 million Dubai World Cup in March but has struggled in recent months to find mounts in Southern California, is relocating to Hong Kong this weekend, he said on Wednesday.

Gryder said he will stay in Hong Kong at least through March, the term of his visa, and may stay until the end of the race season next July.

Gryder, 39, said his win on Well Armed in Dubai, combined with riding briefly in Hong Kong in June, has led to further interest in riding overseas.

"I guess I've had a desire to experience racing internationally," he said. "I don't want to walk away from the game and wish I'd done that. By winning the World Cup, it heightened my chances.

"I'm very competitive and I love this game. I love the chase of getting on good horses and this will afford me the chance to do that. I was there in June and it's high quality racing. You can get on horses that can compete anywhere in the world."

Gryder said he plans to begin riding in Hong Kong on Nov. 22.

"Hopefully, I can pick up some horses that will be running in the International races" on Dec. 13.

He said that leaving his wife and children behind in California "will be a challenge for me."

Gryder did not have a mount during the Breeders' Cup races last weekend, and had just three wins during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting that ended on Sunday. His most recent stakes win was aboard Judge Joan in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Park in September. His last graded stakes win was the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap on Sweet August Moon at Santa Anita in April.

He said the lack of wins and opportunities were unacceptable.

"You're disappointed if you're not competing at the highest level," he said. "I don't handle well sitting on the sidelines. I understand the horse population is down. I'm not the only rider sitting in the room more than on horseback."

Well Armed eyes winter comeback

Well Armed, unraced since being diagnosed with a bone chip in an ankle during the summer, is swimming at owner Bill Casner's ranch in Flower Mound, Texas, with the goal of a wintertime comeback.

Well Armed has made one start since the Dubai World Cup, finishing last in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar during the summer.

Casner said that Well Armed was given "a clean bill of health" recently and could return to racetrack training with Eoin Harty at Santa Anita in January.

Last Sunday, Casner's WinStar Farm had two promising 2-year-olds reach the racetrack for their first day of jogging. Life Well Lived, a 2-year-old full sister to Well Armed, and Kayce Ace, a full-sister to the Grade 1 stakes winner Colonel John, are in training with Harty.

'Illinois' loves all California grass

Shadow of Illinois does not have a favorite turf course in Southern California. He wins on all of them.

So far this year, the 9-year-old Shadow of Illinois has won turf sprints at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, Del Mar, and the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. He will be after his fifth win of 2009 in Friday's seventh race at Hollywood Park, an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf.

"He's run big on all of them," trainer Anthony Saavedra said. "I'd have to say Santa Anita, but it's my favorite track. I don't think he cares."

Owned by Anthony's wife, Jennifer, Shadow of Illinois is entered for a $62,500 claiming price, but there is not much demand for 9-year-olds, even those that have won 9 of 39 starts and $466,465. Anthony Saavedra is hoping that an outside draw in a field of nine, and ample speed to follow, will help Shadow of Illinois on Friday.

"He's very sharp right now," Saavedra said. "We've got a lot of speed in that lineup. I think that will help us. We're on the outside and we can let them go."

Yes, there will be a 10-year-old season, and Saavedra is thinking of a more ambitious campaign, hoping to start Shadow of Illinois in stakes for statebreds on Santa Anita's hillside turf course. Two of the logical runners in that division are overqualified. California Flag won the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and Dancing in Silks won the BC Sprint last Saturday.

Enriched ready for On Trust

Enriched, a half-brother to the seven-time Grade 1 winner Lava Man, makes his first start for trainer Doug O'Neill in Saturday's $75,000 On Trust Handicap.

O'Neill, who has trained Lava Man for much of his career, claimed Enriched for $32,000 at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Enriched won an optional claimer for statebreds on the hillside turf course that day.

The On Trust is run over 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track and drew a field of nine.